Ebony Magazine and Lerone Bennett Jr.: Popular Black History in Postwar America

October 30, 2020
Ebony Magazine and Lerone Bennett Jr.: Popular Black History in Postwar America

From its launch in 1945, Ebony magazine was politicallyand socially influential. However, the magazine also played animportant role in educating millions of African Americans abouttheir past. Guided by the pen of Lerone Bennett Jr., the magazine'ssenior editor and in-house historian, Ebony became a keyvoice in the popular black history revival that flourished afterWorld War II. Its content helped push representations of theAfrican American past from the margins to the center of thenation's cultural and political imagination.E. James West's fresh and fascinating exploration ofEbony's political, social, and historical contentilluminates the intellectual role of the iconic magazine and itscontribution to African American scholarship. He also uncovers aparadox. Though Ebony provided Bennett with space topromote a militant reading of black history and protest, themagazine's status as a consumer publication helped to mediate itsrepresentation of African American identity in both past andpresent.Mixing biography, cultural history, and popular memory, Westrestores Ebony and Bennett to their rightful place inAfrican American intellectual, commercial, and politicalhistory.|CoverTitleCopyrightContentsAcknowledgmentsIntroductionAn Abundance of Outright UntruthsTell Us of Our PastWhite Problems and the Roots of Black PowerLearning Is an All-Black ThingWe Can Seize the OpportunityA Hero to Be RememberedConclusionNotesBibliographyIndexBack cover|E. James West is a Leverhulme Early CareerFellow in American History at Northumbria University.